Pipe Spring National Monument is located in Arizona on Route 389, 60 miles east from Hurricane, Utah before you get to Fredonia, Arizona. We stopped by on our way from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to Supai for our visit to Havasupai Falls.
Situated at the foot of the Vermillion Cliffs, the drive here is beautiful and worth the detour if you are visiting Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon. There is also a gas station and small market where you turn from the highway.
This visitor center is a joint venture with the National Park Service and the Kaibab Band of the Paiute Indians who have lived in the borderlands here for centuries. The monument is testimony to their native culture and the Mormon pioneer families who settled in the area. Brigham Young bought the spring claim in his vision of expansion of the church around 1870.
Inside you will find museum exhibits and information, along with a gift shop, bathrooms and water fountain to refill your bottles. If you have an annual park pass there is no fee, otherwise it is $7 for a 7 day pass.
Outside, there is a path and an area preserved to show what life was like in this land and the church tithing ranch that used to be here. You will see corrals, ponds,gardens and orchards like they would have been in the late 1800s for those who sought shelter by the spring that still runs into the original ponds the settlers dug.
You will also find the Winsor Castle, originally designed to protect the spring, telegraph office and supplies kept here. Tours are offered year-round every half hour. Over time, the fort was not only a hideout for polygamists when federal law made the practice a felony, once sold by the Mormon church it became a welcome place for all walks of life: cowboys, traders, salesmen, and hired women.
But if you are like me, you will find the outhouse more fascinating, reenacting that one scene from Young Guns in your head.
You may even see someone dressed in typical settler clothing out tending the garden in addition to a park ranger sharing tidbits like the horses and burros in the corrals are retired animals from the Grand Canyon and other national parks in the area or that the currant you see growing was once mixed with honey and juniper to make a form of pemmican that sustained the native Indians who lived in the area.
There is a short ridge trail up behind the castle and cabins you can wander if you have time but it was closed the day we were there.
So the next time you are venturing in Arizona, join a long history of weary and sanctuary seeking travelers and plan a stop at this time capsule rest stop. And I promise, the outhouse is only for show. There are very nice bathrooms inside. You can read more about my hike on the sand dunes in my post: Spring Break Road Trip Day 3: Lyin’ Down At Horseshoe, Tiger Beetles and Bear Right At Wild Cows, Oh My!
For more information and current conditions, visit their NP website.
Pipe Spring National Monument
HC 65 Box 5
406 Pipe Springs Road
Fredonia, AZ 86022 (928) 643-7105